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storino03

A500 NTSC Questions!

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So I have a lot of questions. Initially, I registered at Amiga.org, but they haven't activated my account and it's been a few weeks, so I have moved on to here!

 

I recently purchased an Amiga 500 from Craigslist for $125:

 

Amiga A500 (Revision 6A motherboard and Kickstart v1.3)

Commodore 2002 Video Monitor

Digiview Video Digitizer Adapter

A520 Modulator (RF and AV output)

A501 512KB Expansion (removed battery in time!)

Tank Mouse

Tac-2 Joystick

2x Tac-30 Joysticks

Complete in Box: Indianapolis 500 The Simulation (for sale if anyone is interested!)

Original Box/Manuals (invoice from 1991, paid $499 for the system alone)

 

I think I mentioned everything. Anyway, it all works perfectly! I removed the top metal shielding from inside the A500 so it's easier to do upgrades and such. The metal was very clean unlike other pictures I've seen online and on Youtube. The battery in the A501 Ram expansion I removed just in time. There was a small amount of acid leaking, but it didn't seem to affect the performance of the 512KB, as it was correctly reported in Workbench.

 

On to the questions!

 

  • Let's start with the monitor. It works great, has a mono speaker, etc. What are the inputs in the back for pertianing to Chroma, Audio, and Lumina? What are these used for exactly? I used the Audio input to direct the audio from the A500 to the monitor, but that's it.

 

  • Kickstart v1.3. I see on Ebay there are upgraded chips you can get that have V3.1. Is that the highest version for the A500s? Is this needed for any of the games released for the platform? What's the purpose of upgrading the rom chips in an Amiga A500 ? Since mine is V1.3, does that mean that this system was physically upgraded at one point? Why can't you just upgrade the rom version through a software disk?

 

  • What's the best way to get Solid State storage on the A500? I thought about the ACA500, but those have long since been sold out/discountinued. is the ACA500 Plus coming out "SOON" ? What about the Gotek USB Floppy. Are the loading times any faster using the USB Floppy? Any other upgrade cards you guys have used/recommend?

 

  • What is WHD Load and how does it differ from Workbench/Kickstart? Mind as well clarify what those are too!

 

  • I know you can hook Sega Genesis controllers to the Inputs, but do all games utilize the controllers in the same way? Is there options to solely use the keyboard for game input?

 

  • What is this Digi-View Video Digitizer that came with the sale? Am I missing the software disk(s) for it?

 

  • Initially, I liked the Tac-30 joysticks, but the movement is very creaky/noisy. Anyone else have these to comment?

 

  • Is there any way to hook up a SCSI Zip Drive version to the A500? Like a serial to SCSI cable?

 

  • Any place that still sells the Joystick ---> PS/2 Mouse adapter to hook up standard mice at reasonable prices?

 

That's all the questions I have for now!

Edited by storino03

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So I have a lot of questions. Initially, I registered at Amiga.org, but they haven't activated my account and it's been a few weeks, so I have moved on to here!

 

I recently purchased an Amiga 500 from Craigslist for $125:

A nice haul.

 

  • Let's start with the monitor. It works great, has a mono speaker, etc. What are the inputs in the back for pertianing to Chroma, Audio, and Lumina? What are these used for exactly? I used the Audio input to direct the audio from the A500 to the monitor, but that's it.

The two RCA chroma/luma inputs are for the Commodore 8-bit computers. IIRC, the 2002 has a DE9 port for analog RGB input for the Amiga. You will use a Y-cable to connect the stereo output of the Amiga to the 2002 or, better yet, skip the monitor audio and go with a nice set of speakers or an amp.

 

 

  • Kickstart v1.3. I see on Ebay there are upgraded chips you can get that have V3.1. Is that the highest version for the A500s? Is this needed for any of the games released for the platform? What's the purpose of upgrading the rom chips in an Amiga A500 ? Since mine is V1.3, does that mean that this system was physically upgraded at one point? Why can't you just upgrade the rom version through a software disk?

 

 

Kickstart v3.1 is the last official Commodore Kickstart ROM for the Amiga. Whether you want it or not will depend upon your purposes. If you just want to play the classic games and ECS demos then you can happily stick with v1.3. But, if you want to use it to its fullest as a computer (well, as full as you can get with a 7MHz 68000,) then v3.1 is in your stars, along with OS3.1. ISTR AmigaOS3.5 and above require a 68020, but I should not be quoted on that.

 

 

  • What's the best way to get Solid State storage on the A500? I thought about the ACA500, but those have long since been sold out/discountinued. is the ACA500 Plus coming out "SOON" ? What about the Gotek USB Floppy. Are the loading times any faster using the USB Floppy? Any other upgrade cards you guys have used/recommend?

 

 

Not necessarily faster loading times (though some considering there will be no track seek, but suspect that is largely imperceptible,) but it will make it easier to get disk images from the Internet to the Amiga, in particular if you stay at Kickstart 1.3.

 

 

 

  • What is WHD Load and how does it differ from Workbench/Kickstart? Mind as well clarify what those are too!

 

WHDLoad is not an analogue to Workbench or Kickstart. You can consider Kickstart the BIOS of the computer, while Workbench is the GUI.

 

WHDLoad allows you to take original game and demo disks and store them on mass storage media, running them from something like a hard drive as if you were using the original disks. It is especially useful for expanded and enhanced Amigas, like my OS3.9 A4000D with 50Mhz 68060, as it will set up what is essentially a virtual machine to run the older Kickstart and the game without the compatibility issues presented by the modern OS.

 

 

  • I know you can hook Sega Genesis controllers to the Inputs, but do all games utilize the controllers in the same way? Is there options to solely use the keyboard for game input?

 

Not all games, no. And double-check on that, as I have read that the Genesis controllers will damage the Amiga. I have never used them as I had CD32 controllers at hand.

 

 

  • What is this Digi-View Video Digitizer that came with the sale? Am I missing the software disk(s) for it?

 

In short, it is a digital video capturing device. I believe it can only do still images, but I might be wrong. I inherited one much like you did but I never used mine. Check out the Big Book of Amiga Hardware for more info, or the Amiga Harwdare Database.

 

 

 

  • Initially, I liked the Tac-30 joysticks, but the movement is very creaky/noisy. Anyone else have these to comment?

 

Not I. I never liked those kinds of controllers. Now, the TAC-2: I fricken LOVE those.

 

 

  • Is there any way to hook up a SCSI Zip Drive version to the A500? Like a serial to SCSI cable?

 

Yes, there is. You will need a SCSI interface for the SCSI Zip (I did that for YEARS) or a compatible IDE/ATA expansion. I believe the AdIDE will work with Zip drives, but at this point in the game you probably do not want to invest unless you have media you need to use. You would be better off trying to go with USB expansions via clock-port interface or just stick with the floppy emulators. Again, it depends upon what your purposes is for the machine: games or computer.

 

 

  • Any place that still sells the Joystick ---> PS/2 Mouse adapter to hook up standard mice at reasonable prices?

 

Heheh What do you consider reasonable? Your first stop should be AmigaKit. There are other Amiga dealers, but this is a good one with which to start.

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Yes, there is. You will need a SCSI interface for the SCSI Zip (I did that for YEARS) or a compatible IDE/ATA expansion. I believe the AdIDE will work with Zip drives, but at this point in the game you probably do not want to invest unless you have media you need to use. You would be better off trying to go with USB expansions via clock-port interface or just stick with the floppy emulators. Again, it depends upon what your purposes is for the machine: games or computer.

 

 

What is clock-port interface?

Edited by storino03

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What is clock-port interface?

 

The clock port is a native expansion introduced on the Amiga 1200. Its primary use was for low-cost RAM expansion and real-time clock modules, but since it is a memory-mapped port it has been used for a lot more, like USB expansions, sound cards, and more.

 

There are a few expansions which bring the clock port to other computers, including the 500, 600, and the "big box" machines via Zorro cards.

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Oh, I forgot to mention about the mouseseseses. You can get USB-to-Amiga mouse adapters now for relatively inexpensive. They turn up every so often, and there are a couple of projects over the years. The Cocolino PS/2-to-Amiga mouse adapter is ridiculously expensive. I bought two a long time ago. Expensive though it is, to be fair it really is a very nice interface.

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I bought the Gotek USB Floppy, which should help curb my decision on getting a more dedicated storage medium (that's faster) and one that has upgraded CPU speeds down the line. Right now, I just want to play some of the games that I've been dying to.

 

Another question!

 

Since my Kickstart is V1.3. I can't run anything higher without physically installing another rom chip with the higher version? Is that the same for Workbench V1.3 being the highest I can run?

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Since my Kickstart is V1.3. I can't run anything higher without physically installing another rom chip with the higher version? Is that the same for Workbench V1.3 being the highest I can run?

Mostly, although you could "softkick" a newer ROM if you have enough RAM.

Fun, but not practical for actually using..

 

They also have (although it's not always easy to find) kickstart switchers. So you can have multiple kickstart ROM chips and you use a switch to choose which one you want.

 

Although, if you are mostly gaming, you won't need to worry about the Kickstart/Workbench versions...

 

desiv

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Given how many resellers once advertised about Kickstart switchers, either there should be a warehouse of surplus switchers somewhere or all the unsold ones went to recycling 20 years ago.

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Does WHD Load need a specific Kickstart version minimum to run? Is it like a virtual environment where it emulates the other versions for game compatibility? Does WHD Load only work on a storage medium?

Edited by storino03

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Does WHD Load need a specific Kickstart version minimum to run? Is it like a virtual environment where it emulates the other versions for game compatibility? Does WHD Load only work on a storage medium?

The version of Kickstart needed depends upon the game. Most will require 1.3 from the A500, but I have seen some which require other versions. The documentation for the particular game slave will tell you.

 

From my understanding, yes, it works as a sort-of virtual machine. The main idea is to allow you to take an original game on floppy disk and install on your hard drive, but also to allow modern Amigas with their newer CPUs, RAM, and OS to run the games.

 

 

WHDLoad is designed for easy installation of programs to a harddisk (demos, games, ...) which kill the operating system. To install a program, a so called "Slave" must be written. The Slave is the interface between the program and WHDLoad, and co-ordinates the reading and writing of files.

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i have used genesys controllers on my amiga 600 and it never caused any damage. But i dont know if there is some sort of combination that may cause any damage (pressing any keys while playing , for example...) . But sega master system controllers work with no problem at all , that i can vouch for...

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Perhaps the Amiga is less sensitive than a C64 is. What happens is that some of the extra buttons on a Genesis controller combines pins that on at least the C64 may short circuit potentiometer inputs (paddles) on the SID chip. As long as you only use certain buttons on the pad, you should be safe and perhaps a small power surge now and then would not cause any long term damage, but to be safe some people castrate their Genesis pads in such way that offending wires are cut off so only one button will work.

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Thanks for the information!

 

I do have Master System Controllers, so that option would work too.

Edited by storino03

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Thanks for the information!

 

I do have Master System Controllers, so that option would work too.

go for it, master system controllers dont have the same issues as genesys ones... they can be used safely in c64 and amiga... just to remind i used genesys controllers on the amiga , not in the 64, some games in the amiga make use of two buttons and these controllers are useful... not in the 64 , and the amiga joystick ports dont seem to have the same issues ( FRYING THE CIA CHIPS, FOR INSTANCE)

Edited by flanauf

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Yes, Sega Genesis Controllers cause damage on CIA chips and this applies to Amiga as well (though I've seen that they're less prone to problems, but having a Joypad a DB9 Connector does not automatically mean that it will work on any Commodore).

 

This applies to Atari as well: TTL High signals have ~3V while the machine expect simply a GND>Pin connection.

 

The Sega Master System Controller does not have TTL High signals so it is safer.

Edited by Oge

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So I got the Gotek USB Floppy drive in the mail today. Installation was fairly easy, I did have to snip the thin plastic bit on the case so the display, usb, and buttons were easily accessible. Not a huge deal to me. It still looks nice. Since it's smaller than the Amiga Disk Drive, I just used one of the holes on the bottom of the Gotek USB Floppy drive and I screwed it to the bottom of the case (that already had a hole). It holds it in securely.

 

Overall, I like it. Loading times are exactly the same, which you think would make it faster since it's using USB drives instead of disk access. The menu interface to assign ADF files to Slot 1, 2, 3, etc is pretty easy to get the hang of. I am finally able to play a wider range of games I haven't been able to before.

 

It's a fun accessory and a good substitute for a cheaper aternative to playing games without using floppy disks. I wonder how the ACA500+ will be like.

 

Pics below.

 

657FE886-AEB7-40CC-87E2-3B040EE93F60.jpg

 

 

3620D905-0F4A-41DC-9B77-CC7A5DA616A7.jpg

 

379E2CE7-4861-4C9A-8CEF-C24486720A2F.jpg

Edited by storino03

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Yeah, I would not be too disappointed. Even with USB driving the floppy interface you cannot over-run Paula's somewhat limited input speed of 250kbps.

 

In fact, if you were not aware, on an Amiga with high-density drives the drives actually run HD disks at half-speed so Paula can keep up.

 

Paula is a good girl, not a fast girl.

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I have a boxed Indianapolis 500 for Amiga if anyone is interested. Not sure what to price it at. I don't collect old PC games like this.

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